POTSDAM — Canton and Heuvelton both used outstanding defense and a fast-starting offense to gain repeat Section 10 boys basketball titles Friday night at SUNY Potsdam.
Canton’s 6-foot, 8-inch center Ayomi Odetoyinbo blocked Tupper Lake’s first three shots of the game and the Golden Bears jumped out to a 12-2 lead. Odetoyinbo’s rim protection was steadfast as the Golden Bears cruised to a 56-33 win in the Class C title game where Canton followed up a Class C soccer title and a Class B basketball title from a year ago.
“It really feels great to win the basketball title after winning it on soccer. We played very well as a team,” said Canton guard Ryan Jones, who was part of an aggressive ball-hawking Canton perimeter defense while Odetoyinbo was a formidable deterrent in the lane.
“Etomi has been great on defense all season and he is getting better on offense,” Jones added. “We ran a play in practice where he slammed home a lob pass. We ran it in the game but he just layed it in.”
Heuvelton secured a second straight Class D title with a 51-28 victory over Harrisville, which in no way resembled the Bulldogs’ two wins in the NAC West Division against the Pirates by a total of seven points. The Bulldogs’ swarming team defense, which held the Pirates to one field goal in the third quarter, was complemented by Nate Mashaw, who scored the first 10 points of the game and sparked a 12-0 lead.
Both teams enter the Overall Section 10 playoffs on Tuesday and start state tournament play in two weeks.
“When we got off to a great start we just kept talking that it was zero to zero,” said guard Chris Ashlaw. “Harrisville is a great team and we knew they cold make runs. We just needed to sure that ours were the longest runs.”
Ashlaw who teams with fellow seniors in Mashaw and Jake Venette in a trio that interchanges at the guards and small forwards positions seamlessly.
“Nate (Mashaw) got us off to a great start on offense. I’ve seen him do that many times,” Ashlaw said.
CLASS D FINAL
Harrisville was able to regroup in the first quarter and cut the lead to 19-11 when Liam Winters buried a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. The Bulldogs (20-3) countered immediately in the second quarter when Ashlaw buried a 3-pointer and Venette used a perfectly timed leap for a floating putback at the rim.
The Pirates (17-3) cut the lead to 11 points in the final minute of the second quarter despite operating without a key player in Tanner Sullivan, and forced two Bulldogs misses. But Mashaw and Lucas Thornhill came up with offensive rebounds and the half ended with Ashlaw scoring on a sweeping drive down the lane.
The Bulldogs eased away to a 41-19 lead in the third quarter where they did not allow a field goal until 26 seconds remaining.
“We came up with a trapping zone defense to slow down Tanner Sullivan and it worked well. The guys were totally focused in practice and they are so smart that they can adapt on the fly,” said Heuvelton coach Josh McAllister.
“We communicated very well tonight against a very good team. Nate Mashaw showed tonight why he won so many awards. He has worked hard to win every one,” McAllister said.
Mashaw finished with three 3-pointers in an 18-point outing with three assists and three steals. Ashlaw buried two 3’s, scoring 14 points, and Lucas Thornhill delivered seven of his 12 points in the third quarter. Jake Venette supplied eight rebounds and four assists and Connor Phillips also grabbed eight rebounds.
“I had never felt more confident going into a game in my life. The coaches gave us a great game plan and we carried it out,” Mashaw said. “We were very focused and we are going to be even more focused moving on.”
Tanner Sullivan led Harrisville with 11 points and Liam Winters hit two 3s scoring six.
“They came out hot and totally outplayed us tonight. Very good team. We will be back with everyone returning next year,” said Harrisville coach Brian Coloney.
CLASS C FINAL
With Ayomi Odetoyinbo blocking six shots and grabbing eight rebounds as a centerpiece in the defense, Canton (18-5) sniped home five 3-pointers in a signature balanced offense, which was consistently fueled by transition scoring off its defense.
Ryan Jones tallied 10 points with five assists and three steals and Luke Wentworth also struck for 10 points with three steals. Ethan Francey buried three 3s in a nine-point effort matched by a smooth nine by Vincent Nelson-Fuse, operating around the rim.
Odetoyinbo complemented his defense with an eight-point effort, which included six points in a 23-4 Bears’ run in the third quarter. Elias Snyder added six points.
“We played our normal man-to-man defense with Etomi roaming inside and the other guys pressing in the ball and funneling the ball inside. We are pretty good on defense,” said Canton coach Troy Lassial. “We have a lot of young guys who love the game and they are going to work hard. We will be a lot better by graduation and Ayomi will have an offensive game next year.”
Despite falling behind 45-15, Tupper Lake (17-5) never stopped its aggressive play on both ends of the court. Guard Thomas Peterson went 6-for-8 at the foul line and scored a game-high 17 points.
The Canton JV’s were honored before the game as Central Division champions.
CLASS B FINAL
Ian VanWagner scored 25 points as Potsdam held off top-seeded Gouverneur, 62-58, for the Class B championship at Maxcy Hall.
Theodore Hughes added nine points for the Sandstoners (12-11), who led 33-27 at halftime.
Raine Rumble scored 20 points for Gouverneur (15-6). Ethan Platt followed with 17 points and Ethan Fitzgerald contributed 13.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.